Public Inquiry into collapsed mall waterproofing

An executive company that supplied the roof-decking of the ill-fated Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ontario, says that salts are damaging to concrete but said that waterproofing material is strictly out of the firm’s hands.

Doug Harman said that Coreslab Structures makes no recommendations about waterproofing its product either.

Harman made the statement during a public inquiry into the collapse of the mall’s roof-top garage that killed two women.  He said that waterproofing is up to the project architect or engineering team.

Coreslab made the precast hollow concrete slabs three decades ago that ultimately fell.

Investigators believe water and salt penetration rusted out a critical weld on the underlying support structure.

The structural engineer who oversaw the building of the mall more than 30 years ago, said that it was the worst construction work he had seen in his career – yet he still gave the project his seal of approval.

John Kadlec was the second witness to speak during the public inquiry being held in the community.

Kadlec said that he saw evidence of shoddy workmanship from the time the mall was built in 1978 and noted that the mall was built using crooked columns and rusted steel beams.

He said that he tried to bring the issues to the attention of the mall owner and architect, but was “ignored.”

Kadlec also said that he helped design the Algo Centre Mall, without seeing the site or knowing what materials would be used.